By James Diaz

she asked why I had been walking in circles

I’m not, I said, these are small prayers my feet make

muscle swarming and I listen

so very hard to the crack / it never makes sense

the artifacts of breakage / they said I should be feeling better

but I feel worse than the silence of winter

I shook in corners for so long

and people weren’t good to me

I learned to insulate the dark

muscle in autumn through a thin grate

it is snowing but you are not invited to the world today

TV room, hospital slippers, grey walls

the boxer and the bibles that are like mold

growing on every table

they say bend a knee / ignore the sound of rain

but you are all shadow by then, fingers, small toes

light moves through your body, no resistance, you are dark like the universe before all of this


there, you see, it’s no circle I am walking –

it is only a prayer I send out when I don’t know what else will sustain me.

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (2018, Indolent Books) and editor of the forthcoming anthology What Keeps us Here: Songs from The Other Side of Trauma. In 2016 he founded the online literary arts and music journal Anti-Heroin Chic to provide a platform for often unheard voices, including those struggling with addiction, mental illness and Prison/confinement. He resides in upstate New York, in between balanced rocks and horse farms. He has never believed in anything as strongly as he does the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life.

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